N. VAN DIJK-Who are these people? Human skeletal remains from the Pacific region
Polynesians,actually show more differences than similarities, and it is these differences that we should concentrateon. It appears fairly clear that the Lapita-people were quite phenotypically distinct (Pietrusewsky 1989, Katayama 1990)from what we identify as Polynesian today. Pietrusewsky in a summary of Lapita skeletal characteristics notes:
"Univariate analyses indicate a number of similarities between Lapita skeletons and other Pacific, especially Polynesian, populations. These features include relatively tall stature, presence of rockerjaw ...moderate shovel-shaped incisors,well developed area for the attachmentof the costo-clavicular ligament on the clavicle ...other skeletal and dental features which clearly differentiate the Lapita remains from other Pacific groups include wide low mandible shapes, small (microdont) teeth, and slender long limb bones." (1991:l-2).
These conclusions are also borne out by his multivariate analyses. In a cluster analysis based on the results of mandibular measurements (see Figure 2) the Lapita remains were isolated and furthest removed from Polynesia.
Is SE A s i a
SE A s i a
1 Figure 2 Diagram of relationship dased on a cluster analysis of d-squared results besed on 4 mandibularmeasurements(from Pletrusewski 1989:243).
At some point therefore,if these are indeed the ancestorsof the Polynesians, a great deal of phenotypic change or admixture had to have taken place. When, where and how did this happen, and are we going to find the answer simply by measuring and re-measu- ring near-modem crania of uncertain geographic and temporal provenance from museum collections? Probably not. It is my opinion that now it is time to take a diffe-